The protestors carried leaflets bearing the messages "strip the Middle East of nuclear programs" and "a new Middle East = clean from nuclear programs." They were briskly removed from the hall by security guards.
'Strip the Middle East of nuclear program' - one of the protestors (Photo: Dudi Bar Sela)
After finally beginning his address, Peres addressed the unusual protest, saying: "The air conditioning here has to be turned down, I was concerned for their health." On a more serious note, the president added that "it would be more correct to hold the protests in Tehran, not in Israel."
The activists, some of whom wore bathing suits and underwear only, sought to protest what they said was the "lack of balance" in the conference, which they said "forms encouragement to the presence of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East".
Most of the protestors' ire was directed at the conference organizers, who held their meeting under the banner "the nuclear challenge in the Middle East." The protestors said alternative views were not represented, such as the stance which doubts that there is a need for nuclear weapons in the area.
"We first asked the conference organizers to present a balanced panel, which will hold a real discussion on the nuclear issue, instead of speakers who all justify the need for nuclear technology," Sharon Dolev, head of the Greenpeace campaign against nuclear programs, said.
Rona Tal contributed to this report